Empowered by Powerlessness


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When Namma Bengaluru decided to keep its temperatures soaring, little did it know that it was uniting the denizens of the city in some way. It had all of us whining endlessly besides prompting us to collectively pray for the rains. The pleased heavens opened up with a hail storm one evening.
Once the initial rejoicing set in, kaput went the transformer. The area was shrouded in the dim fading light of dusk.

Alternative power solutions lit up the homes, offices and shops within seconds. The skies cleared up for the night. Several hours passed. There was no sign of electricity. Complaints were lodged more frantically when the batteries running the show began exhausting. The sporadic showers had escalated the heat indoors. Premises that opened doors even for a moment were invaded by motley insects which decided to plague our homes post rains.

The horribly hot night passed without electricity. The next morning dawned ushering in new problems. We did not have access to water as motor pumps were lying dead without power. Communication was cut off since most cell phones could not be charged. Making breakfast seemed a nightmare to people who heavily depended on toasters, microwaves and juicers.

As daylight enveloped the layout, people who had barely acknowledged one another started speaking in one voice. The limited resources were put to best use. Water, food and cell phones were used judiciously on the basis of priority. A team of people went to the local power station to learn about the actual cause of delay. They found out that the electricians were not lazing around, but had been working on various poles overnight. It was just that the ratio of men was hopelessly low to the number of repairs that they had to make.

A few more powerless (pun intended) hours lapsed. The refrigerators were raided and salvaged food was put to good use. Water tankers were hired to supply water. The children were rallied around and sent off to a movie to keep them cool, well-fed and out of the way. Finally, power was restored late afternoon.

The 20 hours of power cut, which seemed to be a nightmare to live through, was actually an eye opener of sorts. For starters, it revealed how helpless we were without electricity. But more importantly, it helped us renew ties with our neighbourhood on common grounds and appreciate the value of men whose expertise we think is available to us at our beck and call. The power cut which we thought had made us powerless had actually empowered us.

Brace Yourself For The Post Party Syndrome


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Calm after the storm

The two-faced Roman god Janus is ready to usher in the new year, while earthlings are partying hard. What many of us do not know is that we are working ourselves into as state of frenzy in the name of unwinding. This is true of those who organise parties as well as those who attend them.

A lot of meticulous planning, precious time and hard-earned money is ploughed into these events by hoteliers and owners of restaurants, bars and pubs besides individuals. Painstakingly decorating the party space, arranging enough food and drinks to go around and organising entertainment programmes takes several months of hard work and networking. Needless to say, this puts a great strain on their nerves.

It’s easy to assume that the party hoppers are a jolly lot, but that is far from the truth. They, for their part, are stressed about what to wear, whose company to seek, how to fit in at the party and get home safely afterwards.

Back to the grind

While all the music, dancing and socialising is fun while it lasts, the morning after generally brings along a hangover or worse, depression and loneliness. The post-party syndrome can encapsulate a lot of issues. You might feel lazy, fatigued and reluctant to get on with your work and normal routine. The late nights, gorging on calorie-rich food and aerated or alcoholic drinks can take a toll on the intestines and the liver. The lack of sleep will affect your cognitive function.

While none of these are reasons to pass on the merriment, by taking a few smart measures, you can save yourself from the physical and emotional stress that is likely to bog you down.

Catch up on some sleep every now and then so that you’re not caught yawning in company during the party. Loss of sleep can be telling on the countenance and general health of the individual in the long run. You would do well to have plenty of salad, fruits and juices during the day to offset the heavy food that you might eat at night.

Following an exercise regime will help you burn off the calories you gained binge-eating and drinking over the past few weeks. It is wise to keep tab on the amount of liquor that you consume in order to avoid embarrassment, untoward incidents and accidents.

The emptiness you’re left with

Psychologists point out that people who throw or attend many parties could experience a sense of loss, emotional numbness and anxiety once the gala time is over. This usually happens because they might have run into people whom they no longer care for or simply wish to avoid. They might have lost track of important days in all the frenzy. Even as they pretend to be happy and confident, they might be upset and despondent.

Putting the past behind and learning to live in the moment is the way to deal with these painful emotions. New year parties are, after all, about ringing out the old and ringing in the new. When you run into someone you dislike or have complicated emotions for, flash an affable smile, offer a kind word and move on. Try to forgive and forget for your own peace of mind.

You must understand that anything that brings you happiness must be good and genuine for it to last long. Refrain from hypocrisy and try to be earnest in terms of behaviour and attitude. Good manners and courteous behaviour has never killed anyone. A dollop of unadulterated enthusiasm can spread chirpiness and good cheer all around.

If you think your emotional wounds are still raw or that you may not be able to handle nasty surprises, pre-empt the guest list. If it is not to your liking, excuse yourself from attending the party. This can save you a lot of trouble and unpleasantness.

The most telling sign of the post-party syndrome is the lacuna created by the sudden lack of activity, which could lead to boredom, frustration and irritability.

Once you understand that parties are for enjoyment, socialising and rejuvenating your spirits, you can spend the days after the party organising contact numbers and addresses for future use. You can redeem your promise about keeping in touch by sending flowers or cards to renew your friendship with those you like.

If you hear of good or bad things happening to those you care for, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and get talking. An unexpected friendly gesture can not only cheer them up but will also make you feel happy. Once you learn the art of coping with the post-party syndrome, you will find yourself looking forward to more such good times!

Dealing With the Dubious


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When cheating cases are investigated, it is interesting to note that everyone of them has been based on trust.

The individual or organisation works hard at winning the confidence of the people whom they propose to swindle. The evil masterminds devise ways and means to
play fair or at least appear fair. They leave no stone unturned, plug in all the loopholes and put on their best behaviour to woo the people whose wealth they plan to deceive.

A story from the Panchatantra teaches us how to deal with such dubious people or organisations.

Once an old crane realised that he was no longer agile and alert to fish for food. He was too conceited to seek help. Therefore, he made a devious plan.

He stood on the edge of the lake and started shedding tears. A crab who lived in the pond wanted to know the reason for his sorrow. After much coaxing, the crane divulged that he was privy to a prophecy of a drought that would strike the region for the coming twelve years.

He said he was grieving for the helpless souls who would be losing their lives for no particular fault of theirs. Soon, this dreadful news was updated to all the inmates of the pond. They approached the crane one by one and asked him for a suitable solution.

Once the old crony was sure that all their attention was focused on him, he
generously offered to shift them all one at a time, once a day to another large water body which would not dry up despite the famine. The eager creatures lapped up his offer gratefully.

The old crane commenced with his charitable act of helping the fish migrate. He would fly a while with his passenger and then polish him off for lunch, only to make a meal of another fish the following day. No one suspected anything foul in the happenings.

A couple of days later, the crab requested the crane to shift him. The crane who wanted a change of taste, happily agreed to help the crab. The following day, when the old bird was flying along his regular route with the crab on his back, the crustacean saw a number of fish bones piled on a rock.

He was intelligent enough to put the pieces of the puzzle together. He felt sorry for his gullible pond mates. He decided to avenge their unfair death and also save his own life and promptly strangled the crane to death.

The common man who has been conned will be able to trace a pattern in the  crime if he pays enough attention. If all the victims of the fraud come together and expose the malefactor, the law of the land will take care of the rest.

Mutual regard for Meaningful Relationships


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Sometimes, we make a conscious effort to reconnect with the people who populated our past. It could be either with the agenda of keeping or redeeming a promise or very simply to enjoy a bit for the sake of old times.

Situations like these warrant a little understanding and courtesy even if we do not mean to take the association any further. If we realise that the attitude is not mutual it will be in our best interests to keep away, lest life decants an ungainly stress on us and lead us to the path of self-destruction.

An incident in the Mahabharata enunciates this point ever so well. Drona a poor Brahmin and Drupada, the prince of Panchala went to Gurukula together. Drupada who availed constant academic help from his erudite friend, promised to give his friend unto half his kingdom as a token of his appreciation. Drona declined the offer. Each of them went their way. Several years passed. One day, Drona thought it would be a good idea to touch base with his old chum and probably seek a cow in charity in the capacity of a Brahmin.

The meeting with the king of Panchala proved to be a disaster as Drupada, refused to recognise his old friend. The much insulted Drona vowed to win over Panchala in an open court. Later on when it was time for his students, the Kuru princes, to offer him Gurudakshina, he demanded that they capture Panchala for him. On getting his fee, he made Drupada recall the unpleasant scene. Then he made a grand gesture of dividing Panchala and offered half  of it to Drupada and rubbed salt on to the wounded ego of the erstwhile friend.

Drona thought he had settled scores. Little did he realise, that he had triggered off a chain of nasty events. Drupada performed a special Yajna to beget a son who would kill Drona. He aspired for his daughter Draupadi to wed Arjuna, the star student of Drona to beard the lion in his own den.

The immaturity of Drupada snowballed into a series of unfortunate events.

Equations in human relationships change from time to time. Any relationship can be taken forward only if there is mental maturity and mutual understanding.

Most Exquisite Bonding


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Friendship is one of the most exquisite bonding forged by mankind. It is a binding, which thrives across space and time, religion and cult, social and economic vagaries when genuine.

It is a feeling that has to be nurtured and cherished for a lifetime. Quality time spent in the company of a close friend can prove to be the best investment in a lifetime for a friend in need is a friend indeed.

It is a well-known fact that friendships forged during the formative years of children’s lives through school have an everlasting impact on the minds of people. We can find an exemplary example of such a friendship in Bhagavatha Purana.

Lord Krishna fostered friendship with Sudhama when he went to Muni Sandeepani’s Gurukulam. Time passed. The priorities of their lives changed.

Krishna went on to rule Dwaraka while Sudhama lived the life of a poor householder. He often spoke about his best friend to his wife and twenty-seven children. He never once thought of availing his rich friend’s help till his wife goaded Sudhama to seek Krishna’s help.

Sudhama was reluctant. Friendship was precious. Yet his wife’s nagging got the better of him. He left for Dwaraka to seek Krishna’s help. He carried the last fistful of flattened rice in his home as a gift to Krishna for old times’ sake.

When he reached the palace of Krishna, he was pleasantly surprised by the warmest hospitality extended by his childhood pal. He hesitated to give the humble gift to his chum but Krishna snatched the bundle and helped himself to his favourite goodie.

That instant, Sudhama made up his mind not to ask anything of Krishna and belittle their unique friendship. He bade farewell to his dearest friend and left the palace ruminating over the good times they had spent together.

When he reached home, he found there stood a mansion in the place of his hut and his children and wife were bejeweled and wore the finest clothes.

He recognised the hand of Krishna in this transformation.

The bond shared by the two friends was filled with the finest universal qualities of friendship like mutual love for each other, trust, sharing, caring and the capacity to understand unspoken words. Many such friendships have been eulogised in both mythology and as history and will be done so in the future, as long as these values are cherished by every one of us.

We are living in unrealistic times, where we have more virtual friends than real ones. We must realise that commenting on or clicking on “Like” or “Dislike” on a friend’s post on Facebook cannot match up with the warmth and worth of face to face interaction.
It is high time adults sensitise and facilitate young children to the charms of this beautiful relationship.